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Finding Design Inspiration for a New Website

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Website page and laptop with lightbulb

Your website plays a critical role in how a customer perceives your business. Is it visually appealing? Is it easy to navigate? All of these factors come into play when a customer visits your website and may determine whether or not they convert.

If you are considering a website redesign, you have probably already looked around the internet for inspiration on your new direction.

Sadly, many businesses tend to look in the wrong places and can mistakenly draw inspiration from outdated sites and trends. With that in mind, here are 5 tips on discovering inspirational sites for your new website.

1. Start with the Best Inspiration Portfolio Sites

Websites don’t come with publication dates and if you aren’t in the industry, it can be hard to judge whether a site is cliche and outdated. While a great web designer will guide you to the latest design trends, they’ll be looking to you as the client to share your opinions on what you like and don’t like. Starting with a list of inspiration sites that were built 6 years ago with dated technology can send you in the wrong direction on the new site.

Portfolio sites are great places to find inspiration for your website redesign. Sites like Dribbble, Awwwards, and Web Design Inspiration showcase new, trending, and fascinating web design that you can pull inspiration from for free. These sites also help you weed through dated styles and technologies.

If you will be investing in a custom website, you’ll have a lot more flexibility and can cherry pick ideas from numerous sites because your designer will be creating the design mockups from scratch.

Lastly, if you are looking for a template-based website, browse the options available on the website builder platform that you’ve selected. For a WordPress web design, you may utilize a pre-design template or a custom design approach.

2. Evaluate Competitors & Industry Sites

A common reason for redesigning your website is that your business is struggling to stand out from the competition. When looking for inspirational sites, look at your competitor’s sites to understand their color scheme, design quality, content, and messaging. By reviewing your competitor’s website, you can then understand what will make yours stand out against the competition.

Pull 2 or 3 examples of competitors to share with your designer in order to give them examples of what you do and do not like, as well as give them a feel for your industry’s design standards.

After reviewing your competition, look for other sites in your industry. If you are in a small market, take a glance at some businesses located in large cities as those firms may have some innovative ideas.

3. Look Outside Your Industry

While competitive research is vital, don’t be afraid to go outside your industry for inspiration. You can find design inspiration on company websites within cutting-edge fields like technology, design, and branding, for example. These industries strive to be modern, and they will likely feature some of the latest web design trends. You can find homepage, site navigation, and even secondary page inspiration (careers, about, etc.) from these companies, so do not be afraid to explore.

Be sure to consider whether or not the website you are reviewing follows your business goals. Sites are typically built to either serve B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-customer) purposes, and both have very different buyer journeys.

B2C sites may involve e-commerce and will drive customers directly towards purchasing while B2B typically has longer sales processes and may have calls to action, such as “speak to a representative” or “request a quote.” While you can pull inspiration from either B2B or B2C, be sure to remember your business’ goals and process of operations to easily incorporate design elements you like.

4. Assess Color Schemes & Rebranding

Will your business be tackling a rebranding as part of the website redesign? If so, a good place to start is by assessing your current branding versus your competitors. What are they doing differently? What can you do differently? Gather inspiration from your competitors, non-industry, and portfolio sites and come up with a few ideas for your ideal branding.

Since your logo design and branding colors are typically a starting point for the color scheme for the website, it can be difficult to utilize a dated logo on a modern site. A website redesign can be a great opportunity to upgrade your logo and company’s branding.

Branding is more than just font and color; it also includes the brand identity and personality that you’d like to convey. Do you want to be creative? Modern? Consider what tone you’d like your company to set as it will help determine your brand’s color scheme and logo styling. Be sure to confirm that your ideal color scheme follows the color contrast guidelines for web accessibility.

Branding guidelines and color schemes will normally be passed off to a web designer to utilize during a site build. This will help the web designer know what colors, font type, and imagery to incorporate into the site as well as give them an idea of how to expand on the color scheme with accent and secondary colors.

5. Check Out Animation & Interactive Components

Modern web design has moved away from static pages to incorporate movement and micro-interactions. The addition of interaction has led to web pages becoming more engaging and more emotionally rewarding for the audience. However, there are some pitfalls to be cautious of when incorporating movement into your website.

For one, animation can sometimes lead to slower load times or challenges across varying devices (desktop, mobile, tablet, Etc.). Also, some illustrated animations may require hiring a third-party animator or illustrator, which could increase the cost of the build as well as project duration. Illustrated animations like Lottie animations or 3D animations for product rendering are examples of more advanced techniques.

As with anything, your website needs to have balance between movement and stillness; too much movement may annoy and confuse your audience while too little will bore them. If you have an e-commerce site or are focused on driving conversions, you’ll also need to factor in whether the animation will help or distract from converting visitors.

Be sure to discuss your ideal site and interactive components with your web designer at the beginning of the project so that they can help guide you to the perfect balance of movement.

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